On many occasions, you hear the chant and drumbeat to go out and vote, to express yourself and seize your right. I am one of those people. I normally run around during the first week of May and November emphasizing the right to vote. This isn't May or November, and I am going to tell you to avoid wasting your time. Don't vote for this week's SGA elections.
My reasons for this position are clear: The Student Government Association is completely worthless. They claim to represent the students, and in essence they do, but they accomplish nothing. They have a bad habit, and unless this habit is addressed promptly, there is little chance the body will ever be effective.
What is this bad habit? SGA rarely researches its own legislation before it is brought to the table. They simply pass the legislation. Sure, it looks good (a lot like Campaign Finance Reform), but they leave some other department or governing body to take the heat for their laziness.
The first debacle is the increase in student wages. SGA successfully passed a bill raising the student wage last academic year; it is still not enacted. They simply passed this "feel good" legislation to give the students the pay raise they deserve. If they would have done their homework, they would have discovered that there are departments on this campus that cannot afford to give students a raise. By requiring a raise, they made it impossible to enact. Thus, we still have no pay raise because the SGA didn't ask the any questions.
The second fiasco SGA has been involved in is the relatively recent decision to pave all on campus parking lots. The lots at the stadium will never be paved. The price tag for drainage, creating a stable foundation, and paving the lot would reach well into the million-dollar-plus range. SGA will not be footing the bill. In addition, by paving the lots and placing lines on the pavement, more than 100 parking spaces would be lost. After the chaos of parking this fall, losing 100 spaces could spell disaster. Had SGA done 25 minutes of research, they would have recognized this bill to have been an exercise in futility.
Finally, the third bill I will contest is the bill passed on Wednesday allowing parking permits to be available at the residence hall desks. The main discussion involved seems to have dealt with the Residence Hall Association.
Indeed, this is simply another policy born of ignorance that will never be established. Passes are already available to parents and visitors, and a pass that is movable from vehicle to vehicle without registration will never work. Enforcement of such a pass would be chaos and more trouble than it is worth. Perhaps someone from SGA should have consulted Parking Services before firing off another half-baked bill that will simply end up in the circular file.
So, again I state: When the primaries come in May, go out and vote. Choose the candidate who best represents your political vision. When it comes to election at the state and national level, your voice does make a difference. Contrary to what some would say, one vote really does make a difference. When it comes to SGA, save your time. Useless legislation born of ignorance raises the voice of no one. It silences them all.
Write to Russell at email@example.com